Aquaponics - Roots in the media

It's quite possible that this is one of those things that everyone does, but it's so obvious that nobody mentions it.

Perhaps everything is one of those things, but I'd rather hear something twice than never know about it, so I'll say it anyway.

For some time, I've been harvesting things like lettuce, then spending valuable seconds of my life getting the media out of the roots and retuning it to the grow beds. Clay balls get loose a bit more readily than scoria, but roots seem determined to hang onto whatever media they find themselves in.

Don't get me wrong, this is no way an issue because it really is only a few seconds, but I'd rather spend those few irreplaceable seconds doing more important things - eating strawberries, looking at fish, that sort of thing.

But I discovered that if you just snap off the roots and leave them in a bucket, the media falls out all by itself.

Bam! Earth shattering tip right there.

I add an extra step for the worms.

When I pull up a lettuce, the root ball always has a few worms in it. Even in the constant flood grow bed there are worms everywhere. And as much as I'm happy to feed my worms to the fish, I like my worms and like it when they live in my growbed rather than die on the ground. So when I snap off the roots, I lay the ball of roots, and media back on the growbed until the next time I wander past. This allows the worms time to get back into the growbed as their root ball home slowly dries.

The next day (or whenever) I drop the root ball into my root ball bucket, where it dries out and leaves the media behind. After the bucket has seen a few root balls added, or when I get around to it, I return the loose media back to the grow bed, and the dried roots and stems to the compost heap. Once in the compost heap, they sit for eternity. We don't use the stuff.

120 Things in 20 years - Wasting compost from the roots caught up in my aquaponics media.

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